Umbilical cord care: the effect of eight different cord-care regimens on cord separation time and other outcomes

Biol Neonate. 2002 Jan;81(1):38-44. doi: 10.1159/000047182.


In this study we evaluate the effect of eight cord-care regimens on cord separation time and other secondary outcomes: omphalitis, sepsis, death, cord bleeding, compliance, satisfaction or dissatisfaction with regard to the type of treatment, umbilical cord colonization--in 1,535 healthy term infants. The eight cord-care regimens studied were: 70% alcohol, natural drying, salicylic sugar powder, triple dye, micronized green clay powder, colloid silver-benzyl-peroxide powder, neomycin-bacitracin powder, 1% basic fuchsine. None of the newborns developed sepsis or died and we found only sporadic cases of omphalitis. With regard to cord separation time the best results were obtained with salicylic sugar powder (5.6 +/- 2.3 days) and green clay powder (6.7 +/- 2.2 days). Both forms of treatment proved to be more effective (p < 0.05) than all the others. We found that salicylic sugar powder allows for early cord detachment resulting in excellent parent treatment compliance and reduction of their concern, notwithstanding higher percentages of cord bleeding. The rate of positive umbilical swabs was low and was significantly higher only than the results obtained with neomycin-bacitracin powder treatment. This study demonstrates that, in hospital nurseries of developed countries, salicylic sugar powder can be effectively and safely used for umbilical cord care of healthy term infants.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bacitracin / therapeutic use
  • Benzoyl Peroxide / therapeutic use
  • Coloring Agents / therapeutic use
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods*
  • Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neomycin / therapeutic use
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rosaniline Dyes / therapeutic use
  • Salicylic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Sepsis / epidemiology
  • Silver / therapeutic use
  • Sucrose / therapeutic use


  • Coloring Agents
  • Rosaniline Dyes
  • Bacitracin
  • Silver
  • Sucrose
  • Neomycin
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Benzoyl Peroxide